There’s a story I feel like I need to tell you …
When I was around the age of 15, I had a very personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Growing up in a family immersed in all things God related, it was no surprise that I knew of the life-giving truth that Jesus came to offer all of us. My dad was a pastor. We went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. On other nights we participated in youth group activities and “visitation”–a term meaning we went out to visit others for encouragement, comfort, and to share the gospel of Jesus with them.
We lived close to the church where my dad was a pastor. The school I attended was on the church property as well. My life was literally immersed in the church and the ways of God.
Still, there had to be a time of personally owning what I was going to believe in. I had to come to my own crisis of faith to decide the direction I would take.
I followed along as a compliant child. It was familiar to me. It was all I had ever known.
As I remember the journey, I think I was around 14–almost 15– when I had a terrible dream. I dreamed I was standing before a desk and a pastor I had loved and respected who had already passed away was sitting behind the desk. He seemed to be looking at my life in the present moment and had found something missing. I wasn’t going to heaven. It was as if they had checked my status and I wasn’t ready to meet Jesus.
That began a deep soul-searching and I found that in all my efforts to follow along with what my parents had taught me — do all the things Christians do, sing in the choir, tell everybody about Jesus, attend every church service, visit the shut-in’s, be that “good-Christian-girl”– I still had to make a personal decision to follow Jesus. I couldn’t follow on the coat-tails of my family and make it in.
I struggled with my pride. How can I say I’m not a Christian when I’ve been acting like one for all these years? and I’m the pastor’s daughter, for Pete’s sake!! Pride almost held me. I shudder to think that I almost let that fear of what others thought keep me from choosing life and peace with Jesus for now and eternity.
God won that victory for me.
He brought me to a place of surrender through the compelling power of the Holy Spirit. I came home from school, told my Mama I needed to ask Jesus into my life and we knelt down beside the couch together …and I fell into the loving arms of my Savior as I gave my heart to Him. He took me right in and I was at home with Him.
Within the next few hours, I could tell something had changed within me. I even noticed the leaves on the trees in a whole new light. It was as if my eyes could really see.
The battle wasn’t over. The enemy of my soul didn’t want me to enjoy this new freedom in Christ. He threw doubt at me during the night hours when weakness often overcomes. He wasn’t able to remove me from this position in God’s family but he sure wanted to keep me from any joy and peace and from any further fruit developing.
God won that victory as well.
The Holy Spirit took me to the words in John 10:28-29 …
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
It’s been many years since those first days of choosing to walk with Jesus. There have been many battles and doubts and days of confusion. But there has also been a deep, abiding peace in knowing and following Jesus and knowing He will never abandon me. The Holy Spirit has had to remind me many times that I belong to the Father and He loves me dearly. These verses, however, always bring me back to those early and fresh beginnings when the Father promised me that whatever is placed in His hands, no one can ever “pluck them out .”
I’m holding on to that for dear life and I just wanted to tell you that tonight.
This is my story …this is my song …
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.